Willis Family Trust to Continue with Plans to Build Conference Center on Steamboat Island Road

As many of you know, the County has permitted to hang over our heads for more than five years a proposal to build a conference center on the corner of Steamboat Island and Sunrise Beach roads. For much of that time, we have waited for the Willis Family Trust, developers of the project, to deliver the Environmental Impact Statement requested by the County in early 2005.

This last month, the County sent a letter to Robert Patrick, the representative for the developer. In this letter, the County requested two simple things: (1) information “indicating the applicant intends to pursue the project” and (2) the “timeline for starting the Environmental Impact Statement process”.

The County gave the developer 2 weeks to respond or, according to the letter, the project “will be expired”. Click here to read the letter.

When Mr. Patrick could not meet even that deadline, the County granted yet another extension.

Folks, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

When the extension was granted, the County added that the applicant’s response must include information as to what the applicant has actually accomplished toward completing the required Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Representatives from the County’s Development Services specifically stated in their letter to Mr. Patrick the project “will be expired” unless the county receives the requested information or materials by the deadline.

On the day the extended deadline was set to expire, the developer’s representative made a full payment ($9890) for the application fees required by the County to move the application forward.

No DEIS was delivered to the County. No timeline. No information whatever. Just a check.

In the face of rumors the County will raise its application fees, the Willis Family Trust simply paid the current fees and provided absolutely nothing the County requested.

We believe the application should be lapsed, as the developer has failed to meet the conditions stipulated by the County.

Mr. Willis clearly intends to go forward with his project, despite the poor reception given by residents in the area, the sagging economy, and the presence of many competing banquet and convention facilities.

We are now waiting to see if the County will expire the application, as they promised they would.

What You Can Do

  • Print out a copy of the window sign opposing the project. You can download a sign here.
  • Please consider making a contribution to our legal fund. All contributions to the legal fund are held exclusively for the use of fighting this project. You can make a secure contribution, using your credit card, here.
  • Tell your neighbors. Many of them may have mistakenly come to believe that, after 5 years, this application has already been expired.

The developer, Mr. Willis, is determined to convert residentially-zoned property to his own commercial use. We want the County to enforce its existing regulations prohibiting this use of residential land.

Learn more about the proposed Steamboat Island Conference Center and contribute to our legal fund online at http://www.griffinneighbors.org/confctr.htm .

Stay tuned, as the Board will continue to provide you with updates as events materialize.

Thank you for your continued support of the Griffin Neighborhood Association.

UPDATE: On March 31st, the President of the GNA sent to Michael Kain, Thurston County Planning Manager, a letter. In this letter, GNA President Gary Goodwin asks the County to do what the County said it would, if the conditions described in its letter to the applicant were not met. The GNA has asked the County to “return the check [for application fees], inform the applicant that the project has expired, and inform the applicant that he may file a new application for a special use permit under the existing zoning controls if he wishes to pursue the proposal.”

Click here to read the letter in which the GNA is asking the County to confirm the application has now been expired.

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